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Messages - Callaghan

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1

Just got confirmation that I will be giving the following paper at the American Anthropology Association conference in Denver, Colorado, in November 2015.

This paper is currently undergoing the peer-review process for publication, and I'm hopeful that I'll be able to share that with everyone before the conference.

Traumatic Memory: Child Soldiers, Childhood Trauma, and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Abstract: In Rewriting the Soul (1995), Ian Hacking details the controversial causal linking of repressed memories of child abuse to what was then called Multiple Personality Disorder, while deftly arguing that the concept of “child abuse” — and even the idea of what constitutes a child — is historically and culturally specific, Hacking also notes the extent to which the notion of “childhood trauma” has become an essentialized and universalized category in popular and psychiatric discourses of psychological distress. In an effort to further problematize the current psychiatric nosology of traumatic memory linked to childhood trauma, this paper will explore the forms of psychological distress experienced by children exposed to war and violence, and particularly those forms of distress experienced by child soldiers who arguably have experienced not only different forms, but a different magnitude of trauma than seen in the North American context. Through examining the difference in observed and/or experienced psychological distress associated with these different scales and forms of trauma, this paper will problematize current research being conducted by the Canadian Department of National Defence that has attempted to identify childhood trauma, and repressed memory, as being risk factors for post-traumatic stress disorder amongst soldiers. It will be argued that this research focus, and its associated reliance on the concept of psychological resilience, is intended to limit government liability for claims to benefits by soldiers, and can be understood as an engagement in memoro-politics.

Walter Callaghan
PhD student, Medical Anthropology
Department of Anthropology
University of Toronto
w.callaghan@mail.utoronto.ca

2
I promised that I would post this:

https://www.scribd.com/doc/242919592/Callaghan-2014-Man-Up-Man-Down-Military-Masculinity-Stigma-and-Post-Traumatic-Stress-Disorder-MA-thesis

The Canadian soldier: an exemplar of valour, duty, integrity, honour, and courage; a selfless and self-sacrificing protector of the values and ideals of Canadian society; the “hero”. These are all certainly aspects of the identity of the Canadian soldier, and more importantly, these are all also the epitome of maleness in modern Western society, a maleness that has become largely inseparable from the socially constructed identity of the soldier, or, in other words, a hypermasculine identity that transcends the biology of the individual, since this soldier identity is enacted by soldiers whether they be biologically male or female, and regardless of the sexual identity of the individual, whether it be heterosexual or any variant commonly referred to as LGBTQ. This hypermasculine identity of the soldier, perhaps best referred to as military masculinity, is socialized into the individual soldier long before they ever swear an oath or affirmation of service to Canada, and becomes a core, yet frequently unrecognized, pillar of their internal system of values, ethics, morals, and ethos. And this military masculinity, with its emphasis on the “hero” motif, also plays a role in how the individual soldier lives their daily life, imagines and perceives the world around them, and how they conceptualize injury or illness.
     It is this latter aspect that is the core focus of this paper: how the individual soldier understands, conceptualizes, perceives, and ultimately enacts the condition known as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), or any of the other forms of psychological distress that fall under the umbrella term of Operational Stress Injury (OSI), through the socialized lenses of their gendered identity as the “hero”, including the different forms and manners in which stigma towards PTSD or OSI occur, both from within the military culture, and through the broader Canadian society within which the military operates and functions. This paper will examine the ways in which the indoctrination and socialization of the Canadian soldier functions to create and/or reinforce the hypermasculine gendered identity, the military masculinity, that lies at the heart of the social imaginary of who the Canadian soldier is. The manner in which the pain and suffering of psychological distress interacts with this imagined but adopted functional non-biologic gendered identity will be examined, both from the lens of those not stricken by the symptoms of PTSD, as well as from the internalized lens of the wounded warrior.

3
Update

Minister Nicholson finally responded.
Correspondence below, starting with my response back to Nicholson.

*****

From: xxxxx
Sent: 21-Jul-14 10:24 AM
To: P-OTG.MCU@intern.mil.ca [mailto:P-OTG.MCU@intern.mil.ca]
Cc: peter.stoffer.a1@parl.gc.ca; Daniel.Wallace@mcinnescooper.com
Subject: FW: Bill C-55

Minister Nicholson,

There is a very simple solution to this problem: treat all veterans the same.

Veterans medically-released after April 2012 do NOT have their earnings-offset capability affected in this way (they still have a potential for earnings-offset at 50/100, and a much higher offset-limit as well).  It is only those of us who were already on SISIP-LTD when the changes brought forward by Bill C-55 came into effect who have seemingly lost our potential earnings-offset.  Why is there a two-tiered system of benefits based on date-of-release?

Further, my questions and concerns were not specifically about COLA, and it confused me how you and your staff were tying my concerns into the Manuge/SISIP class-action on this matter.  Now that I've read the text of that final settlement, I am shocked and even more concerned that your government sought a release on issues that were beyond the specifics of that case, namely how the base amount of LTD was calculated and how earnings-offsets were handled.  I've been advised by the lawyers at McInnes-Cooper that the specifics of the release-clause mean that I must now rely solely on political will to correct a mistake that is seeing anything from $500-$1000 (or potentially far more) being clawed back from my earnings.

So do you, Minister Nicholson, have the personal and political will to affect the change needed to correct this error?

ONE VETERAN, ONE STANDARD

Walter Callaghan


-----Original Message-----
From: P-OTG.MCU@intern.mil.ca [mailto:P-OTG.MCU@intern.mil.ca]
Sent: 21-Jul-14 9:15 AM
To: xxxxx
Cc: peter.stoffer.a1@parl.gc.ca
Subject: FW: Bill C-55

Dear Mr. Callaghan:

Your further correspondence concerning the calculation of benefits under the Service Income Security Insurance Plan (SISIP) Long Term Disability (LTD) plan was forwarded to me by Member of Parliament Peter Stoffer. Thank you for writing.

In my previous correspondence I was unable to comment on the Cost of Living Allowance (COLA) and the calculation of the LTD benefit as it applies to those who qualify under the SISIP Vocational Rehabilitation Program (VRP) as they were being reviewed as part of the class action settlement at the time of Mr. Stoffer's letter of 6 February 2014. The purpose of the COLA review was to determine if it had been applied properly. I am pleased to report that this issue has since been addressed, and a proposed settlement has been negotiated as identified in the Preliminary Notice of Proposed Settlement of the Class Action Regarding the Calculation of Cost of Living Allowance Increases to SISIP LTD benefits, available at www.sisip.com.

With respect to the COLA, all SISIP LTD benefits are adjusted annually to take into account cost-of- living increases in order to minimize the effects of inflation by applying the consumer price index (CPI). Applying the CPI to a benefit is standard practice as the CPI is widely used as a measure of inflation. Some examples of where the COLA is applied in this manner are the Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) Earnings Loss Benefit (ELB) and the Canada Pension Plan.

I have been advised that the COLA is applied to the SISIP LTD benefit before offsets, if any, are applied. That is, for a deemed salary of $2,700, the LTD benefit (75%) of $2,025 would be increased by the CPI, and then the formula would be applied. The application of the COLA to the LTD benefit in this manner should not reduce total income; if anything, the total take-home income consisting of the SISIP benefit and the earned employment income would increase by virtue of the CPI increase to the SISIP benefit. Without this practice, total income would not keep up with inflation.

The SISIP VRP formula remains unchanged following the review related to the class action. The SISIP VRP offset is applied at a rate of 50% of income until total income from all sources equals 100% of the salary or the reservist's deemed salary, then the offset is dollar for dollar. This 50% offset is meant, when and if a claimant's condition permits, to provide an incentive to earn employment income that could bring the claimant up to 100% of his or her military salary or deemed salary. This formula is similarly applied in the VAC ELB while a veteran is participating in a VAC rehabilitation plan.

With respect to the deemed salary increase, Bill C-55 (Enhanced New Veterans Charter) enabled the increase of the minimum VAC ELB for Regular Force and Reserve Force members on full-time service from senior private to basic corporal, and to increase the deemed salary from $2,000 per month to $2,700 per month for part-time reservists. Since VAC ELB and SISIP LTD are complementary plans, SISIP sought and received Treasury Board approval for the same increases.

It is correct that the increase removed the VRP 50% offset for employment income for claimants, such as you. Today, as a result of the increase in the deemed salary, you receive $2,025 per month as a guaranteed sum, and any income earned is offset dollar for dollar. So while any employment income is entirely offset, after the increase in the deemed salary you are guaranteed a higher total income than you would have received prior to the change. Had this increase not occurred, it would have taken between 15 and 16 years to reach an LTD benefit of over $2,025 based on a maximum 2% COLA per year.

As an unintended consequence of this increase in deemed salary (and consequent increase in the LTD benefit), it appears that the incentive to work has been reduced for members in your situation. I agree that this is not an ideal situation, and we will look into options on how to address this issue.

I have shared your concerns with SISIP personnel, and I am advised that they will be taken into consideration during the review of the veterans benefits policies that is currently under way.

Please be assured that should there be any change to the SISIP LTD benefits, it will be communicated to all LTD claimants by the Insurer in addition to the usual public media announcements.

Thank you for writing. I trust that I have been able to provide some clarification in this matter.

Yours truly,

Hon. Rob Nicholson, PC, QC, MP
Minister of National Defence

c.c. Mr. Peter Stoffer, MP

4
And here is my rebuttal to Nicholson's empty rhetoric and factual errors:

Minister Nicholson,

Could you please inform me what current litigation that would be that you refer to in your response, and which is preventing you from commenting further?  I'm familiar with most of the legal actions that veterans have had to initiate against the current government, but I'm at a loss to determine which one would prevent you from speaking to the issues at hand in my complaint over how p/t earnings have been offset from my SISIP LTD.

Further, I think that you will find that C-55 did indeed affect SISIP-LTD, as well as VAC-ELB.  The correspondence from certain staff within SISIP, which was forwarded to you on my behalf by MP Stoffer, clearly explains how the increase in base calculation of pay, and the reduction/removal of potential earnings offset was directly related to the implementation of C-55 in 2012.

Sir, if you or your government truly want to thank those of us who served, and view our health and welfare as being of the utmost importance, then I urge you to step up and fix these problems.  Stop the platitudes and empty rhetoric.  Actions speak much louder than words.

Militi succurrimus,

Walter Callaghan
Disabled veteran

5
Update

Minister of National Defence, the dis/Honourable Rob Nicholson, finally acknowledged a complaint/challenge that I've been throwing forward since 2012.  There are several factual errors in his response, copied below - how many can you find?  Other background info/emails attached below that.  I’ve redacted the names of certain individuals to protect their privacy.  At the same time, I’ve also deleted the privacy statements attached to almost every single one of the emails (funny, the only email that didn’t have a privacy statement was the one that apparently came from Nicholson’s office!).
I’ve got much more to say on this issue, since I’ve been fighting it since April 2012, and it effectively means that I have no net gain from any part-time work --- all earnings are being deducted at dollar-for-dollar, rather than the fifty-cent-per-dollar that is supposed to occur on the SISIP (and VAC) forms of LTD.
Or perhaps Nicholson was seeing into the future with his comment, since it does appear that this will be yet another class-action law-suit against the Harper regime over their dishonouring of any and all obligations to Canada’s disabled veterans.

Oh, and C-55 most certainly does apply to SISIP, since it was C-55 that increased the base-value of both SISIP-LTD and VAC-ELB, and it is the manner in which that increase was coded/interpreted that is causing this clawback of any and all earnings.

________________________________________
From: P-OTG.MCU@intern.mil.ca
Sent: Mon 12-May-14 4:21 PM
Dear Mr. Callaghan:

Your correspondence of 7 February 2014 was forwarded to me by Member of Parliament Peter Stoffer. Thank you for writing.

The health and welfare of the members of the Canadian Armed Forces are of the utmost importance, and I take this responsibility seriously.

The issue of calculation of long term disability (LTD) benefits for those who participated in the Vocational Rehabilitation Program is currently under litigation, and therefore it would be inappropriate for me to comment about this matter at this time.

Bill C-55 (Enhanced New Veterans Charter Act) pertains to benefits administered by Veterans Affairs Canada, and as such it does not govern the Service Income Security Insurance Plan (SISIP) LTD plan.

I trust that this information is helpful, and I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your service in the defence of Canada.

Yours truly,

Hon. Rob Nicholson, PC, QC, MP
Minister of National Defence

________________________________________
From: ME
Sent: Fri 07-Feb-14
To: peter.stoffer.a1@parl.gc.ca [mailto:peter.stoffer.a1@parl.gc.ca]
[NOTE: It is my understanding that all of the following correspondence was forwarded to both Nicholson and Fantino]

I would suggest, based on the correspondence that I’ve had with other veterans through my activity as an active member of the Canadian Veterans Advocacy, that this issue that I identified, and which seems to be supported through the correspondence received by the various levels of SISIP management (the levels above my case-manager (who, by the way has now been changed to a new case-manager, one who has had several complaints raised against him, and which now has me concerned over my continued status as eligible for LTD through SISIP). The massive clawback indicated may only be being applied to those of us who were on SISIP-LTD prior to the implementation of C-55.  However, I also have a concern over the practice of applying the annual COLA increases against our possible employment-offset --- while it would clearly take decades for any noticeable effect to occur, especially given the low-paying positions that most veterans, especially those with PTSD or other OSI’s might possibly be able to obtain, the very practice of applying the COLA increases against our possible earning’s potential, when the offset is meant to enable us to regain the difference between our pre-release pay and the 75% LTD --- a calculation that does not truly apply to those of us who were Reservists, since our LTD is based on a “deemed” salary that does not actually reflect our true potential military pay or our assumed civilian employment!  In truth, our civilian pay is actively held against us, and if we were lucky enough to be under a collective agreement through our civilian pay that would possibly provide any form of LTD for our medical limitations, that LTD is held directly against our military/SISIP-LTD, meaning that we are always receiving less than our actual pre-injury and pre-release pay … in my case, my base SISIP-LTD is roughly 30% of my actual pay at the time that my PTSD caused me to leave my civilian job … I actually ended up on OntarioWorks (welfare) for some time after using up all of my EI benefits!  And I had to repay those benefits to the military prior to being released and in order to qualify for SISIP!!!!

The general nature of the letter is correct, but the actual context is soooooo much more complicated.

Walter

PS … thank you for taking my concerns seriously, and once again standing up for us.
Peter Stoffer – you have continued to show integrity and honour, and I cannot thank you enough for how you have clearly demonstrated time and time again that you truly do care what is happening to us.  THANK YOU!
________________________________________
From: peter.stoffer.a1@parl.gc.ca [mailto:peter.stoffer.a1@parl.gc.ca]
Sent: 6-Feb-14 3:40 PM
To: Walter Callaghan
Subject: SISIP LTD letter
Hi Walter,
Peter has drafted a letter to the Minister about the SISIP-LTD issue you both talked about at the town hall in Toronto a couple of weeks ago.
Can you take a quick look to make sure it reflects your concerns?
Thank you.  I have pasted it below.
Holly Brown
Assistant to Peter Stoffer, MP | Bureau du député Peter Stoffer
Official Opposition Critic for Veterans Affairs  | Le Porte-Parole de l'Opposition Officielle pour Les Anciens Combattants.
New Democratic Party | Nouveau Parti démocratique
2900 Hwy #2 Fall River, NS  B2T 1W4
Phone: (902) 861-2311 | Email: stoffp0@parl.gc.ca
________________________________________

February 6, 2014

Hon. Robert Nicholson, P.C., M.P.
Minister of National Defence
101 Colonel By Drive
Ottawa, ON K1A 0K2
Hon. Julian Fantino, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Veterans Affairs
66 Slater Street
Ottawa, On  K1A 0P4
Dear Minister Nicholson and Minister Fantino,
I am writing on behalf of Walter Callaghan.  Mr. Callaghan receives SISIP-LTD.  He also works part-time and is clawed back dollar per dollar on SISIP-LTD for his part-time earnings.   
Mr. Callaghan suggests that a misinterpretation of the increase in base benefits under Bill C-55 has removed the earnings-offset limit or the amount the veteran is able to earn from part-time employment. Since Bill C-55 came into effect, all part-time earnings are deducted from SISIP LTD benefits dollar for dollar.  This practise further discourages veterans trying to return to work and transition to civilian life. 
I ask that you review Mr. Callaghan’s attached correspondence and reply directly to him.  His correspondence explains the issue in detail.
I thank you in advance for your time and consideration.
Sincerely,
Peter Stoffer, MP
Sackville-Eastern Shore
________________________________________

My original email to MP Stoffer, asking for help :
From : ME
Sent : Sun 19-Jan-14 8:47 PM
To : peter.stoffer@parl.gc.ca

Mr. Stoffer,
As I mentioned during the Town Hall that you did this past Tuesday in Toronto, there is a new issue with SISIP-LTD that I have identified.  I have forwarded the email correspondence that shed some light on this issue.
In short, as a result of a misinterpretation of the increase in base-benefits under C-55 (2011), there has been an ongoing clawback of the potential earnings that were allowed while receiving SISIP-LTD.  What this has effectively done is removed the earnings-offset limit, or the amount that a veteran was able to earn from P/T or Casual employment which would be offset against their SISIP-LTD at 50-cents/dollar; as a result of C-55, all potential P/T or Casual earnings are being deducted at dollar/dollar.  It also appears to be the case that veterans who were released after April 2012 (the month in which C-55 came into effect) may not be having their LTD benefits affected in this manner.

A second troubling issue is the indicator that SISIP has also been reducing the potential earnings offset amount by the yearly COLA, a practice that likely wasn’t identified until now because of how small that amount is and the difficulty that most veterans, especially those who would continue to qualify for SISIP-LTD, have in securing good paying P/T or casual employment.
Regards,
Walter Callaghan
________________________________________
From: [SISIP Supervisor]
Sent: 24-Dec-13 8:36 AM
To: Walter Callaghan
Cc: [Case-Manager]
Subject: RE: Question on LTD deductions
Thank you for the additional clarification regarding your inquiry.  The situation you describe is not best classified as a problem, rather a natural part of claim progression.

As your claim advances and the years pass, your 75% entitlement receives the applicable Cost of Living increase each year.  As this occurs, the gap between your 75% gross benefit entitlement (prior to applicable offsets) and your deemed salary at release narrows.  This means that with each passing year, the amount you can earn and be offset at 50% also gets smaller.  This is a natural part of your claim progression.   

The 50% offset provision is a somewhat unique provision in the SISIP policy and affords members in receipt of LTD, who also participated in the SISIP Vocational Rehabilitation program in some way, with some what of an "incentive" when they initially return to work.  That incentive is that your employment earnings are not immediately offset at 100%.  That being said, as your claim progresses, if you have a claim open long enough, and as annual Cost of Living adjustments are applied, that gap narrows until your 75% gross benefit entitlement (prior to applicable offsets) would eventually equal your deemed salary at release.  Once you reach this point, you no longer have a 50% offset limit. All of your employment earnings becomes offset at 100%.

Effective Oct 3/11, an Enhancement was applied to all active LTD recipients.  You are aware of this enhancement which effectively increased your 75% gross benefit entitlement (prior to offset) to 75% of $2,700, or $2,025.  This enhancement was done across the board to all active SISIP LTD recipients to align your benefit entitlement with the new prescribed benefit level.  For LTD recipients for whom their benefit was calculated based on the deemed salary, the process was as I just described.

This process effectively caused your benefit to "jump the queue" and receive a large inflation at a single point in time.  Prior to the application of this Enhancement, your 75% gross benefit entitlement (prior to applicable offsets) was $1,511.86.  As you were only released in 2010, you had only experienced one such annual increase prior to the application of the Enhancement on Oct 3/11.  Had this Enhancement not happened, you naturally would have seen a progressive decrease in your 50% offset limit as annual Cost of Living amounts were applied to your benefit.  As this was a large increase applied at one time, I can understand that the loss of the 50% offset limit must have seemed like a bit of a shock to the system; however, it was anticipated based on the nature of this one time monetary inflation of your 75% gross benefit entitlement (prior to applicable offsets).

I trust this additional information will put what has happened to your 50% limit in to a bit more context.  At this stage, there will be no changes to the application of this Enhancement to your LTD benefit, Mr. Callaghan.  It has been applied to your benefit following the prescribed criteria.

We, at Manulife, are unable to affect any changes to this provision as it has been applied across our line of business.  It was developed to bring incomes under the LTD plan in line with a new prescribed minimum benefit and to align the SISIP benefit with other military benefit providers.

If you have any further concerns regarding this Enhancement, please direct them to the Senior VP at SISIP Financial Services:
               
Mr. Larry Mohr
Senior Vice President Commercial Services
Canadian Forces Morale & Welfare Services
4210 Labelle Street
Ottawa ON K1A 0K2

Please note that any potential change that you may wish to be considered regarding the calculation of your LTD benefit would have to be applicable to the Enhancement applied to all applicable, active LTD recipients.  No potential AdHoc change will be considered for your benefit alone.

Once again, thank you for your inquiry.   

Supervisor - Disability/Life Claims, SISIP Services
Chef de section - Règlements invalidité/vie, Services du RARM
2727 Joseph Howe Drive | Halifax, Nova Scotia B3J 2X5
________________________________________

From:        Walter Callaghan <wcallaghan@sympatico.ca>
To:        [SISIP Supervisor]
Cc:        [Case-Manager]
Date:        23-12-13 12:40 PM
Subject:        RE: Question on LTD deductions
Mr. [SISIP Supervisor],
 
Thanks for the quick reply.

The “problem” that I refer to is that employment-related earnings seem to be being deducted from my LTD at the dollar-for-dollar rate almost immediately, rather than the offset that existed the last time that I had obtained part-time employment, when a certain portion of the earnings were offset at 50-cents/dollar; I believe it was approx. the first $1000 of earnings were offset in this manner before they were offset dollar-for-dollar.

This change (error) seems to have come into effect with the implementation of Bill C-55 in 2012, and it seems to be related to the way in which the deemed-salary is calculated and how the increase to that deemed-salary was added in; it was previously explained to me that the increase to the deemed-salary from $2000/month to $2700/month was treated as an enhancement, but that the manner in which the enhancement was applied, it effectively took the place of the previously allowed part-time earnings 50-cent-offset.

I raised this issue with [Case-Manager] back in 2012 when I first identified the problem (having received an retroactive payment to cover the change in the deemed-salary that was much smaller than estimated, and subsequently having my part-time earnings applied in the manner identified above), and she tried to escalate it for resolution then, but the only answers I got back at that time were that everyone was too busy handling the SISIP Clawback Class-Action.  Well, that shouldn’t be taking up everyone’s time anymore, so seeing as how I’m still having my part-time earnings deducted dollar-for-dollar, contrary to the original intent of the SISIP LTD program, I think it’s time that someone look closely at this error.

I’m certain [Case-Manager] can help you understand what exactly is going on here.
 
Regards,
 
Walter Callaghan

________________________________________
From: <SISIP Supervisor>
Sent: 23-Dec-13 11:18 AM
To: Walter Callaghan
Cc: <Case-Manager>
Subject: RE: Question on LTD deductions
 
Good day Walter.   

Can I please clarify what you are referring to when you use the word "problem"?  Are you are referring to the deemed monthly salary used to calculate your Long Term Disability benefit (ie. that your benefits were approved based on your period of service during a Class B contract of <180 days)?  Or are you referring to another aspect of the calculation of your benefit?  You refer to bill C-55 and I am unsure how you are applying this in your situation.

You make references below to "LTD that was deducted" in error.  Can you please clarify exactly what you feel was deducted in error or which part of your benefit calculation you would like clarified?  I will then be in a better position to respond to your inquiry and direct you to the appropriate sections of the SISIP policy that explain the calculation of your monthly benefit.

Thank you in advance for your time and clarification.

xxxxxxx
Supervisor - Disability/Life Claims, SISIP Services
Chef de section - Règlements invalidité/vie, Services du RARM
2727 Joseph Howe Drive | Halifax, Nova Scotia B3J 2X5

________________________________________

From:        Walter Callaghan
To:        <Case-Manager>,
Cc:        <SISIP Supervisor>
Date:        23-12-13 12:09 PM
Subject:        RE: Question on LTD deductions
<Case-Manager>,
 
Thanks for understanding.
And yes, please, I would like my problem escalated to whatever level can fix it, or provide an explanation why they won’t be correcting these errors.
 
Regards,
 
Walter

________________________________________

From: <Case-Manager>
Sent: 17-Dec-13 8:38 AM
To: Walter Callaghan
Cc: <SISIP Supervisor>
Subject: RE: Question on LTD deductions
 
Hi Walter, to the best of my knowledge there is no motion underway to make any additional changes to the SISIP plan and I hear you loud and clear on how this has impacted your LTD benefit.   

I have cc'd xxxxxx, Supervisor, LTD Unit you, if you wish to address your concerns with him.

Regards,

<Case-Manager> | Disability Specialist, SISIP Services
2727 Joseph Howe Drive | Halifax, Nova Scotia B3J 2X5

________________________________________

From:        Walter Callaghan
To:        <Case-Manager>
Date:        17-12-13 04:12 AM
Subject:        RE: Question on LTD deductions
<Case-Manager>,

Please tell me that this problem, which I initially raised back when C-55 first came into effect, is finally going to be fixed, and that the portion of my LTD that was deducted in error will be reimbursed.  Please tell me that this is finally in the works.  Because otherwise, we have a serious problem (not you and me, but SISIP and me – and me being the wider veterans community, which are already very aware that this problem may exist).

Sorry,

Walter.

________________________________________

From: <Case-Manager>
Sent: 16-Dec-13 2:54 PM
To: Walter Callaghan
Subject: Re: Question on LTD deductions
             
Hi Walter, after reviewing your numbers I see what's happening.

After your benefit was adjusted in 2012 for the enhancement, it has affected the earnings formula.  Unfortunately, now when we enter earnings the formula offsets dollar for dollar from the get go.  Essentially your LTD benefit structure now has you earning more money on claim than when you were employed in the CF. Once that situation happens with any file, the earrings offset becomes $ for $.

Regards,

<Case-Manager> | Disability Specialist, SISIP Services
2727 Joseph Howe Drive | Halifax, Nova Scotia B3J 2X5

________________________________________

From:        Walter Callaghan 
To:        <my case manager at the time>
Date:        16-12-13 11:13 AM
Subject:        Question on LTD deductions
<Case-Manager>,

I’m curious how my income from the University of Toronto, as reported in my last two emails, is being deducted from my SISIP LTD.  It seems to be much higher than the 50-cents per dollar that was deducted in 2011-2012 when I last worked as a teaching assistant.

Regards,

Walter

6
Callaghan, W. (2014) “Standing on Guard – For Who?: The Betrayal and Retraumatization of the Canadian Veteran”, paper presented at CASCA 2014 (Canadian Anthropology Society), 30 April – 3 May 2014, York University, Toronto ON Canada.

Abstract: Ever since the First World War, a social covenant has been understood to exist between Canada and her soldiers: the latter being willing to lay down their lives with the understanding that they and/or their families would be taken care of by the nation should they be injured or killed, or in their old age.  Recent actions of the Harper Government have challenged the existence of this social covenant through the perceived disrespect demonstrated by Minister Fantino (Veterans Affairs), including his attempted bullying of an elderly veteran, and through direct comments made in preliminary hearings at a proposed Class-Action lawsuit by veterans against the government.  In the wake of these and other events, the veterans that I have worked with over the past few years began voicing a sense of betrayal and retraumatization, culminating with the question: what do the words “We Stand On Guard For Thee” really mean?

The full text of this presentation, with the associated slides, can be found at the following link:

http://www.scribd.com/doc/221977350/Callaghan-W-2014-Standing-on-Guard-For-Who-CASCA-2014-presentation

7
In November 2013, I attended the annual conference of the American Anthropological Association, where I chaired a session on "Ethnographies of Mental Health and Mental Health Care", and gave a paper entitield "Let's Talk: Stigma and the Illness Paradigm in Mental Health".

During the conference I was approached and agreed to do an interview for "Anthropod", the podcast of the Society for Cultural Anthropology.  That interview has now been made available online, albeit in edited form (it was originally 30-minutes in length).

My interview, "Understanding PTSD through Anthropology", begins at the 22-minute mark.

http://www.culanth.org/fieldsights/452-conversations-on-right-wing-activists-algorithms-ptsd-and-drug-replacement-therapy

8
Bill C-55 / SISIP, C-55, and discouraging Veterans from returning to work
« on: December 24, 2013, 02:28:46 PM »
A little while ago I posted that I'd finally received a response from SISIP regarding my complaints on how they were handling the part-time earnings offset to LTD. My CM agreed that it was a problem, and that an error had clearly occurred. We sent the issue up the ladder at SISIP for resolution. The following is the response that we got. This is not what C-55 was intended to do. Wondering how many others out there are finding themselves in the same boat? And yes, I am escalating it up to the next level at SISIP.

***

The situation you describe is not best classified as a problem, rather a natural part of claim progression. As your claim advances and the years pass, your 75% entitlement receives the applicable Cost of Living increase each year. As this occurs, the gap between your 75% gross benefit entitlement (prior to applicable offsets) and your deemed salary at release narrows. This means that with each passing year, the amount you can earn and be offset at 50% also gets smaller. This is a natural part of your claim progression.

The 50% offset provision is a somewhat unique provision in the SISIP policy and affords members in receipt of LTD, who also participated in the SISIP Vocational Rehabilitation program in some way, with some what of an "incentive" when they initially return to work. That incentive is that your employment earnings are not immediately offset at 100%. That being said, as your claim progresses, if you have a claim open long enough, and as annual Cost of Living adjustments are applied, that gap narrows until your 75% gross benefit entitlement (prior to applicable offsets) would eventually equal your deemed salary at release. Once you reach this point, you no longer have a 50% offset limit. All of your employment earnings becomes offset at 100%.

Effective Oct 3/11, an Enhancement was applied to all active LTD recipients. You are aware of this enhancement which effectively increased your 75% gross benefit entitlement (prior to offset) to 75% of $2,700, or $2,025. This enhancement was done across the board to all active SISIP LTD recipients to align your benefit entitlement with the new prescribed benefit level. For LTD recipients for whom their benefit was calculated based on the deemed salary, the process was as I just described.

This process effectively caused your benefit to "jump the queue" and receive a large inflation at a single point in time. Prior to the application of this Enhancement, your 75% gross benefit entitlement (prior to applicable offsets) was $1,511.86. As you were only released in 2010, you had only experienced one such annual increase prior to the application of the Enhancement on Oct 3/11. Had this Enhancement not happened, you naturally would have seen a progressive decrease in your 50% offset limit as annual Cost of Living amounts were applied to your benefit. As this was a large increase applied at one time, I can understand that the loss of the 50% offset limit must have seemed like a bit of a shock to the system; however, it was anticipated based on the nature of this one time monetary inflation of your 75% gross benefit entitlement (prior to applicable offsets).

I trust this additional information will put what has happened to your 50% limit in to a bit more context. At this stage, there will be no changes to the application of this Enhancement to your LTD benefit, Mr. Callaghan. It has been applied to your benefit following the prescribed criteria.

We, at Manulife, are unable to affect any changes to this provision as it has been applied across our line of business. It was developed to bring incomes under the LTD plan in line with a new prescribed minimum benefit and to align the SISIP benefit with other military benefit providers.

Kristopher Anderson
Supervisor - Disability/Life Claims, SISIP Services

9
I'm not with it enough right now to critique this paper, but will try to get to it later this week. However, it is interesting to note that the numbers provided are significantly lower than what can be gleaned from previous Health & Lifestyle Surveys, which easily presented prevalence rates four times what are presented in this study, and even the HLS suffered from severe reporting limitations.

Anyways, here's the abstract for the referred to paper: http://www.cmaj.ca/content/early/2013/07/02/cmaj.122120

10
For those who have been waiting for it, or are just simply curious, here is the text & slides for my "Let's Talk" presentation.
 
http://www.scribd.com/doc/143010699/Callaghan-W-2013-“Let’s-Talk-Stigma-and-the-Illness-Paradigm-in-Mental-Health”-paper-presented-at-the-CASCA2013-Canadian-Anthropology-Society

11
I've been invited to give the paper at another conference:

Canadian Anthropology Society
University of Victoria
8-11 May 2013

I've been scheduled for a panel titled "Health and Identity Politics" in the afternoon of 8-May.
I'll post the full conference program as soon as it's available.

12
This rant/editorial that I wrote has now been invited for presentation at two upcoming conferences.  Both conferences are free-to-attend, and open-to-the-public.

ENGAGE 2013
Dept. of Sociology & Anthropology
University of Guelph
Date: 16 March 2013
(Exact time & location TBA)

Medusa Lecture Series
Dept. of Anthropology
University of Toronto
Date: 21 March 2013
Loc: 19 Russell St., Rm 246
Time: 0930h-1030h (first panel)

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Medusa-Anthropology-Graduate-Students-Symposium/428802200519082

http://www.anthropology.utoronto.ca/news-amp-events/events/MEDUSA_short%20schedule_2013-1.pdf


“Let’s Talk”: Stigma and the Illness Paradigm in Mental Health

Abstract: On 12 February 2013, Bell Canada hosted an event called “Let’s Talk”.  The purpose of this social-media event was to raise awareness of mental health and to decrease the societal stigma surrounding mental health.  While awareness campaigns certainly have an effect in decreasing stigma, this paper will identify a key problem in these campaigns – the continued use of language based on an illness or disease ontology of mental health.  This paper will discuss how the medicalization of mental health has led to a reinforcement of the illness/disease paradigm and how this has created a resilient form of societal stigma that is strengthened rather than weakened by the language used in these well-intentioned awareness campaigns.  An alternate mental health ontology will be presented that may have more effect in fighting societal stigma, thereby creating a social environment where those in need are empowered to seek assistance.

13
Exactly what have "they" figured out?  The CF (especially the mental health) section is working off of flawed paradigms from before WW1 --- and the idea of preparing resilience is very much a joke.  While people can be resilient in the face/aftermath of traumatic stress or traumatic encounters, the idea that you can "train" this into someone with lectures is a pipe-dream.  What might come from the increase use of experiential recounting is that soldiers might be more willing to accept the need for counseling or other interventions - but something that is still missing is a recognition that the memory of the event (and the associated psychological harm) can remain buried for over 25 years before being triggered (and this knowledge predates Freud's wavering/dismissal of the issues that seems to inform those who decide diagnostic/treatment policy within the CF).

14
The story is from yesterday's Toronto Star (Friday, 22-June-2012).

At the request of Kevin Berry, I reviewed the published literature on the usage of MEG imaging as a possible diagnostic tool.  First, none of the published literature indicates that MEG can be used to "treat" PTSD, only that it might possibly be of some use in indicating whether other treatments are working (and it really doesn't seem to do a good job at that either).

Before I complete rewrite my review from scratch, here is a brief summary of the published research coming out of the University of Minnesota (which seems to be the basis for DND's decision).

Cheers,

Walter

****************************************************

23 June 2012

Prepared for: Canadian Veterans Advocacy

A Preliminary Review of Magnetoencephalography in PTSD Diagnosis

As a result of the announcement (Woods, 2012) that the Department of National Defence (DND) will be conducting research into the utility of magnetoencephalography (MEG) in the diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), the following preliminary review of the referenced published articles from studies completed at the University of Minnesota is submitted.

The first publication of the studies conducted by the University of Minnesota team (Georgopoulos et al., 2007) looking at magnetoencephalography (MEG) as a possible diagnostic tool for identifying neurological conditions was limited in sample size (n=142, with 60% being a “healthy control”) and a potential fault in the stepwise linear discriminant analysis applied to the data that may have created artificial groupings, though it is interesting that these groupings did seem to correspond to the diagnosed conditions of the sample population with an average correct classification of 86.4%.  This success rate may be very misleading, however, in that in order to manage an extremely large data set, the investigators only used 12 out of over 30000 predictor values.  While it is possible to focus on specific data locales using statistical analyses such as ANOVA, Georgopoulos et al. (2007) do not provide sufficient detail of their reclassification criteria to validate their choice of predictor data locales, and they admit as much in the discussion of their results: “This analysis, although useful, may not be optimally suited to our specific application” (Georgopoulos et al., 2007: 354).

The sample group selection methods and criteria forming the basis of the most recent of the questioned articles (Engdahl et al., 2010; Georgopoulos et al., 2010) is also problematic, including discrepancies between the two cited studies, even though they report on the results of the same study.  While it is understandable to exclude patients with comorbidity for studies such as this, the research team attempted to recruit veterans “with a likely current PTSD diagnosis” but excluded “those with indicators of instability within the last 6 months” (which included any period of hospitalization or changes of medication dosage or type).  Of critical importance to Canadian veterans is that the method of identifying potential participants was conducted through a review of medical records prior to contact with the veterans, an issue of extreme sensitivity to many Canadian veterans and which will likely have an impact on any effort by DND/VAC to conduct similar research here.

While the sample population in each of the studies were similar, with a notable difference of multiple conditions being examined with individually small sample groups in the earliest study (Georgopoulos et al., 2007), the efforts to exclude any patients with possible/probable PTSD limits the utility of such research, since adhering to a strict classificatory diagnosis of conditions through the use of CAPS or DSM-IV-TR is contradictory to the intended utility of these diagnostic and research tools as presenting the range of symptoms and phenomenology that can occur with any mental health condition, especially PTSD.  That the researchers limited inclusion in this manner, but then subsequently permitted those with “pure” PTSD to participate who had non-military-related trauma exposure (including childhood abuse) may create a further complication due to the possible differences in phenomenology related to whether the hyperarousal and hypervigilance symptoms are being caused by a fear or anger response, the latter now thought to be the common response of soldiers as a result of training (Hoge, 2010), and therefore causing difficulties with the A2-criteria of the DSM-IV diagnosis of PTSD.  This potential difference between fear and anger as dichotomous reactions to stressful and/or traumatic experiences is ignored by the studies at the heart of this discussion (Engdahl et al., 2010; Georgopoulos et al., 2007, 2010), potentially creating an artificial error to their reports as a result of false-negative diagnoses.

Further, the diagnostic criteria (whether it be CAPS, ICT-10, or DSM-IV-TR) when used as a single-state ‘shopping list’ resulting in either a positive or negative diagnosis, fall into a critical error of the body/mind duality common to most of biomedicine, as well as being reliant on a misfounded construct of a homogenous human body unaffected by culture and its related ontologies (Lock & Nguyen, 2010).  Therefore, while there is no question that veterans of different generations have undoubtedly experienced, and continue to experience PTSD, there are differences in how the symptoms and experiences are understood by the individual veteran, and how that veteran is likely to portray that experience to others.

There are also known issues with MEG signals, which were at least acknowledged by Engdahl et al. (2010), but which could substantially interfere with the ability to properly interpret the imaging.  The biophysics and wavelength physics are above my ability to comment on in detail, but it did not seem that Engdahl or Georgopoulos accounted for these variables sufficiently.

One also must wonder why the research that has been published on the use of MEG as a diagnostic tool, which seems to be the source for the decision by DND to conduct research into this themselves, were published in the Journal of Neural Engineering, a venue for brain-computer interface research with a specific focus on neural prostheses and implants, rather than in a more relevant psychiatry/psychology-oriented journal such as the Journal of Traumatic Stress.  That each one of these papers references the previous papers as the authoritative source on the use of MEG, while being published in an obscure journal with little relevance to the topic of these papers is of some concern.  If these papers were the only articles dealing with MEG imaging, then these issues could be explained away as being the result of a novel imaging technology that is only just starting to be reported on.  However, there are numerous papers on MEG imaging that have been published (a simple keyword search through PubMed returned over 5000 publications), indicating that this is not the case.  In academia, these issues are red flags, especially when dealing with senior researchers and academics such as Engdahl and Georgopoulos, both of whom hold faculty positions at the University of Minnesota.

While there may indeed be benefit found in MEG imaging as a potential diagnostic tool, there are numerous problems to be addressed, not least being the reliance on the oversimplified usage of presence/absence diagnoses.  Hopefully, the problems raised in this review will be addressed by DND in the course of their research into MEG imaging.  Finally, it is of concern that a new area of research into a diagnostic tool has been approved to be undertaken with so little in the way of independent and corroborating research into this function, especially given the previous resistance to even considering the adoption of well-tested and internationally accepted treatment protocols (such as Virtual-Reality Exposure Therapy; for summary, see Callaghan, 2011).  The question must be asked whether the approval of testing MEG imaging is in an effort to find a method to exclude soldiers from receiving a diagnosis of PTSD as a result of false-negatives?  Hopefully this is not the case, and that the speediness observed in the approval of this area of research is more indicative of a new spirit of examining all possible options in an effort to provide timely assistance to injured soldiers.

Militi Succurrimus

Walter Callaghan


References

Callaghan, W. (2011) “In Defence of Virtual Reality Exposure Therapy”; report submitted to Department of National Defence; summary available through Canadian Veterans Advocacy, http://canadianveteransadvocacy.com/Board2/index.php?topic=811.0

Engdahl, B., A.C. Leuthold, H.R.M. Tan, S.M. Lewis, A.M. Winskowski, T.N. Dikel & A.P. Georgopoulos (2010) “Post-traumatic stress disorder: A right temporal lobe syndrome?”, Journal of Neural Engineering, 7(6).

Georgopoulos, A.P., E. Karageorgiou, A.C. Leuthold, S.M. Lewis, J.K. Lynch, A.A. Alonso, Z. Aslam, A.F. Carpenter, A. Georgopoulos, L.S. Hemmy, I.G. Koutlas, F.J.P. Langheim, J.R. McCarten, S.E. McPherson, J.V. Pardo, P.J. Pardo, G.J. Parry, S.J. Rottunda, B.M. Segal, S.R. Sponheim, J.J. Stanwyck, M. Stephane & J.J. Westermeyer (2007) “Synchronous neural interactions assessed by magnetoencephalography: A functional biomarker for brain disorders”, Journal of Neural Engineering, 4(2): 349-355.

Georgopoulos, A.P., H.R.M. Tan, S.M. Lewis, A.C. Leuthold, A.M. Winskowski, J.K. Lynch & B. Engdahl (2010) “The synchronous neural interactions test as a functional neuromarker for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD): A robust classification method based on the bootstrap”, Journal of Neural Engineering, 7(1).

Hoge, C.W. (2010) Once a Warrior, Always a Warrior; Guilford, CT: Globe Pequot Press.

Lock, M. & V.K. Nguyen (2010) An Anthropology of Biomedicine; Oxford: Blackwell Publishing.

Woods, A. (2012) “Canada’s military to test breakthrough procedure to identify and treat PTSD in soldiers”, The Toronto Star, 22-Jun-2012; accessed 23-Jun-2012, http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/politics/article/1215906--canada-s-military-to-test-breakthrough-procedure-to-identify-and-treat-ptsd-in-soldiers

15
Somehow this slipped by without being posted.

http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/politics/article/1215906--canada-s-military-to-test-breakthrough-procedure-to-identify-and-treat-ptsd-in-soldiers

Canada’s military to test breakthrough procedure to identify and treat PTSD in soldiers

OTTAWA—The defence department is looking to cutting-edge medical technology in its battle to identify and track legions of Canadian soldiers who have developed or are being treated for post-traumatic stress disorder.

Defence Research and Development Canada, the scientific agency that supports the military, will spend a quarter of a million dollars to test the finding that the psychological disorder that has appeared in up to 20 per cent of Canada’s front line war fighters can be detected through magnetic fields given off by the electrical impulses in the brain.

The study, to be completed by early next year, is based on research that was able to detect distinct patterns of brain activity in American veterans diagnosed with PTSD — patterns that did not appear in people without the condition.

That work has come as a relief to hundreds of U.S. soldiers who have taken the tests, said Dr. Brian Engdahl, a professor of psychology at the University of Minnesota who has been treating patients with PTSD for decades.

“To put it simply in the words of one veteran, you now have physical evidence of my emotional injury,” he recounted. “I think that sums it up pretty well.”

The work started in 2007 when Dr. Apostolos Georgopoulos, a University of Minnesota neuroscientist, employed a magnetoencephalographic (MEG) device to map the distinct magnetic impulses of a constellation of brain disorders, including schizophrenia, multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer’s disease.

His team applied those findings to post-traumatic stress disorder in 2010 and found that the re-enactment and memory of traumatic events was caused by electrical activity in the right temporal lobe of the brain.

“PTSD was a challenge because it is a disease that people suffer from, but there’s no known structural, neurotransmitter or other malady where you open the brain . . . and see something that really makes the difference,” Georgopoulos said.

Before this, diagnosing the psychological disorder had been complicated. The symptoms, including depression, anxiety and substance abuse, could be the problem themselves or could be symptoms of other diseases. Those symptoms can also be masked by veterans reluctant to admit they have a problem or to get help.

Another difficulty is tracking the success of the various treatments in those seeing a psychiatrist or taking medication for PTSD.

Engdahls says they have not been able to follow affected veterans through the course of their PTSD treatment, but there have been scans of veterans whose PTSD is in remission and the magnetic signature given off by their brains is distinctly different.

“With people who have recovered from PTSD the stamp is still there, but it is far less intense.”

The defence department plans to perform the MEG diagnostic scans on Canadian soldiers who have been diagnosed with PTSD, those with no mental illness as well as civilians with and without minor traumatic brain injuries (concussions).

Getting a handle on the new procedure and being able to see how well patients respond to treatment, the department says, “is critical to be able in helping them with their recovery, and determine when they could be safely redeployed.”

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